(Photo courtesy of The Washington Post)
What does God say about Romance, Weddings, and Marriage?
By Maya Kennedy
How much is too much in terms of dreaming and planning a future hypothetical wedding? I know we have all thought at some point, is my Pinterest page too much? We spend countless hours thinking, planning, “Pintresting”, and Instagramming, all in the hope of creating the perfect wedding day. Society has a lot to say about weddings, marriage, and finding the “perfect” guy and reality television amplifies those views. The television show “Say Yes to the Dress” for example is a reality television series on TLC staged at Kleinfeld Bridal in Manhattan. The series follows the progress of the employees at Kleinfeld Bridal, the bride, and her family and friends as they search for the perfect wedding dress. Eventually, the bride walks away with a gorgeous gown, but not without a few bumps along the way. “The Bachelor” is another reality television show that debuted in 2002 on ABC. The series revolves around a bachelor courted by 25 women, taking viewers along for the ride as the bachelor attempts to find the “perfect woman” to spend the rest of his life with. These shows are immensely popular.
TLC’s “Say Yes to the Dress” has an average of 1.6 million viewers, while ABC’s “The Bachelor” has an average of 8 million. It is clear that these guilty pleasure reality television shows lure their audience in and effectively keep them there (along with many other reality television shows). As much as we love these types of shows, what kind of messages are they sending to women? What is society really saying about weddings and about life after that?
When it comes to romance, weddings, and marriage, the Bible pretty much spells out what God thinks is important. First and foremost, God tells us as His disciples to act in a just way, to love all acts of kindness, and to walk humbly with our Lord and savior (Micah 6:8). He also says to not set anything above Him in our hearts, and that includes our future husband and future wedding day (Deuteronomy 6:5). Despite our desire to control our own futures, we need to know that God does all things for our good (Romans 8:28). When it comes to romance and marriage, God wants nothing more than for us to be in relationship with someone who also has similar values and faith (2 Corinthians 6:14). He says this to teach us not to base our romantic interests on temporal qualities such as appearance but on eternal qualities such as faith (Proverbs 31:30). Lastly, God gives marriage as a gift like how he gives us grace in our lives (Romans 11:6). A gift is not something you can earn and neither is a future spouse. Instead, we follow Christ in order to know him and who we have been made to be in him (Philippians 3:10). Even though many of us want to be married, there is a possibility that the Lord has something else planned for us. We as believers want not our will, but the Lord’s will to be done in our lives because we know that God works all things for our good, even though we may think we have the better plan (Luke 22:42).
So, what are these shows really saying? First, both shows portray weddings and dating as something of a contest. Whether it be a beauty contest or an actual one, both elicit some type of competition in order to look the best and to be chosen (thank God, we have already been chosen by our Father in heaven: Ephesians 1:3-4). God never designed marriage to be a contest and ultimately that is what both shows promote. These shows also promote the idea of physical appearance as being one of the most important aspects – God again does not want this to be the main focus in choosing our future husband for our lives (Proverbs 31:10-12). Within both shows (especially “The Bachelor”) there are issues such as jealousy, lust, promiscuity, and deceit, all problems that are not from God. The main message being sent out tells women that they must behave in a certain way, compete against one another, and do whatever it takes to win a future husband. God does not need or want us to perform, instead He accepts us as ourselves and meets us exactly where we are at (1 Samuel 16:7). A future spouse should always be patient, loving, and kind, and want to meet you exactly where you are at (1 Corinthians 13:4-8).
While some aspects of these shows are fun to watch, most of them are not based in the reality we live in. God is so real, and values us so much, that the last thing he wants us to do is believe in a lie (Matthew 7:15). So, keep in mind next time you consider watching these reality shows that the King of Kings knows whats best for you and has the best plan for your future (Jeremiah 29:11).